“I am writing to you with great joy to share some good news about my case. About a month ago, a block was placed om my case, which is to say that I no longer have cases pending against me and I cannot be imprisoned again… I am immensely grateful for [your] work on my case, and for all that PEN did in my favour. In truth, your solidarity has saved me from suffering more months in prison. The work that you carry out immeasurably helps writers across the world whose liberty is under threat. Your work is admirable.” – Angye Gaona
Angye Gaona, Colombian poet.
Writers and journalists in the Americas continue to face both direct and indirect censorship, threats, violence, and intimidation. The failure to hold individuals to account perpetuates a vicious cycle under which actors, both state and non-state, are emboldened to repeat. With elections taking place in Venezuela, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico in 2018, there are concerns that there may be further public demonstrations, repression, and attempts to control the editorial lines in the press.
The impact of our solidarity work
PEN International and PEN Nicaragua welcomed the release of 56 political prisoners in Nicaragua, among them journalists Lucía Pineda Ubau and Miguel Mora. The journalists were released under a controversial new amnesty law, which permits the release of political prisoners whilst protecting those who committed violent acts against protesters from prosecution.
Advocacy work and campaigns
PEN welcomes the news of acquittal in the case against Chilean writer Javier Rebolledo. Following the release of Rebolledo's most recent book “Camaleón: doble vida de un agente comunista” [Chamelon: double life of a communist agent], the daughter of a former Army official reported the book for describing insulting events. Due to a lack of evidence in the case against him, the Eight Court of Guarantee of Santiago dismissed the criminal defamation charges on 9 October 2018.
PEN International and various PEN Centres in Latin America celebrated the annual Day of the Dead campaign with a series of events, commemorating the more than 180 journalists and writers who have been killed in the region.
Mexican writer and former President of PEN International, Homero Aridjis, wrote to PEN Honduras member Cesario Padilla on the Day of the Imprisoned Writer:
"I know what it means to live in the shadows because of a justified fear. Having been a student leader, and now being an independent journalist, it is the same for you, now that you are exposed to intimidation and reprisals. I want you to know that your fellow writers, in more than a hundred countries around the world, stand in solidarity with you."